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Preview: The Official Google Blog

The Official Google Blog

Insights from Googlers into our products, technology, and the Google culture.

Last Build Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2017 13:00:00 +0000


Helping journalists experiment with 360 contentHelping journalists experiment with 360 contentHead of International

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 13:00:00 +0000

There’s already a huge amount of innovation in virtual reality and immersive storytelling—with many newsrooms experimenting and succeeding in the field—but for some, the ability to create 360 content can still be limited.Perhaps predicting the rise of 360 technology, in 2014 Australian creative agency Grumpy Sailor worked with Google’s Creative Lab in Sydney on an experiment called Story Spheres, which stitches together photos and audio. It allows journalists, documentary makers and educators to tell powerful stories if they don’t have access to video. Working with the same team behind the first prototype, the Google News Lab is now supporting the next iteration of the project. Today new features will help publishers—from individual journalists to large newsrooms—create and brand their immersive audio experiences. A new website will help journalists brand their creations with their own logos, help them credit their work and embed it on their own website. It’s now even simpler to upload a 360 image, edit the imagery, add an audio layer and navigate from one experience to another. In the UK, Trinity Mirror has already experimented with the new tool: The Liverpool Echo took their readers through the famous dockyards of the city, and the Manchester Evening News provided a snapshot of the flowers and balloons placed in St Ann’s Square as a tribute for the Manchester terrorist attacks. In Norway, Nettavisen has been experimenting with the tool by giving their readers a glimpse at the best podcasts for their readers this summer.Emily McCartney, a coder and “techxplorer” at Grumpy Sailor, says the improved tool will help users, too: "There's so much news to consume, and people want to be able to jump between stories without losing any time, and Story Spheres help you do that."Discover the tool for yourself, made by Grumpy Sailor with the support of Creative Lab in Sydney and the Google News Lab.[...]Storyspheres helps journalists, documentary makers and educators to tell powerful stories if they don’t have access to video.

Helping people in a crisisHelping people in a crisisVP, Engineering

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 10:00:00 +0000

In times of crisis, access to timely, actionable information is crucial. Working alongside trained responders and volunteers on the ground, technology plays a vital role in providing information to help keep you and loved ones safe and informed. SOS alerts is a new set of features in Google Search and Maps to help you quickly understand what’s going on and decide what to do during a crisis.

How SOS Alerts Work

During a crisis, you may see an SOS Alert at the top of search results when searching for the incident or location. You’ll see maps, top stories and—when available—authoritative local information such as emergency phone numbers, websites, and translations of useful phrases. Depending on how close you are to the affected area, you may also get a notification on your mobile device that directs you to this information.

If you’re outside of the affected area, you may still want information about the crisis. Searches for relevant terms (like the name of the event or the location) will also show an SOS Alert that provides a timely overview of the situation, in addition to features such as donation opportunities.


Google Maps on mobile can also show SOS Alerts. In Maps, you’ll see a specific icon on the map and a tappable card with more information about the crisis, such as helpful phone numbers and websites. The map will also include real-time updates, like road closures and traffic and transit updates.


As we’ve developed our crisis response products, we’ve worked closely with organizations and government agencies that are on the front lines of relief efforts, including the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration and many others. "Radio and television were once the only channels to quickly provide information in an emergency, but the internet and mobile phones have become increasingly important,” said Robert Glenn, Director at FEMA.

In addition to SOS Alerts and other crisis response features—including Google Person Finder, Google Crisis Map and Google Public Alerts—our philanthropic arm provides grants and volunteers for communities impacted by crises. We hope you never need to use crisis response features, but if you do, they’re designed to help keep you, and those you love, safe and informed.

(image) We’re introducing SOS Alerts in Google Search and Maps to help people affected by crises around the world.

G4NP Around the Globe - Zooming in on Action Against HungerG4NP Around the Globe - Zooming in on Action Against HungerGoogle for Nonprofits

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 18:30:00 +0000

Every dollar and minute count to further your cause and focus on your mission. We’re pleased to highlight nonprofits who were able to make greater impact with fewer resources by using Google tools—from G Suite to Google Ad Grants–made available through Google for Nonprofits (G4NP) at no charge. Varying in size, scope, and timezones, these nonprofits from around the world share one thing in common: utilizing the G4NP suite of tools to help their specific needs. G4NP offers nonprofit organizations across 50 countries access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Ad Grants and more at no cost. This week, we’ll take a look at how the nonprofit Action Against Hunger utilizes these tools to increase productivity, visibility, and donations,  in order to improve lives in  the communities they serve. Action Against HungerIn 2016 alone, Action Against Hunger provided nourishment to over 1.5 million starving children(1). In order to save lives with nutritional programs, Action Against Hunger looked to Google for aid—not for food, but for technology. Action Against Hunger now utilizes five Google technologies that have drastically improved their ability to save lives around the globe. Raising Awareness with Google Ad Grants & AnalyticsFor major international emergencies, like the Ebola outbreak or the South Sudan famine, Action Against Hunger needs a way to inform people and recommend ways to get involved. With Ad Grants, the nonprofit activates targeted keywords relating to the crises to drive people to their page and empower them to take action. Google Analytics then allows them to track their effectiveness and adjust accordingly to increase engagement and improve their fundraising techniques. With this data-driven strategy and the tools’ ability to optimize campaigns, Action Against Hunger has nearly doubled funding year-over-year. In fact, Ad Grants brought 158,000 people to their website in the past year alone, raising $66,000 which is equal to treating 1,466 hungry children. Ad Grants brought 158,000 people to their website in the past year alone, raising $66,000 which is equal to treating 1,466 hungry children. Increasing Productivity with G SuiteWhen working with a global network and managing hundreds of programs abroad, collaboration and communication are key. After experiencing unnecessary latencies in their operations, Action Against Hunger has since adopted G Suite which streamlined their workflow. The nonprofit is especially fond of Gmail, Hangouts, and Drive where Action Against Hunger employees can message each other quickly, share files securely, and collaborate on Docs in real-time—avoiding duplication of efforts and saving time.Fundraising with One Today & YouTubeTo drive donations and expand awareness to broad audiences, Action Against Hunger uses One Today, a Google app that allows users to easily donate $1 or more towards causes they care about. Campaigning on One Today on World Food Day in 2016,  Action Against Hunger raised more than $1,200 in support of their cause with each dollar going directly helping those in need—the equivalent of feeding 1,000 hungry children. Additionally, Action Against Hunger creates and shares content on YouTube to reach their global audience, and is  beginning to use the YouTube donation cards to further increase donations. The large exposure and website referrals from both YouTube and Google+ helped Action Against Hunger raise over $20,000. Using Google products Action Against Hunger gained extra time and energy to focus on what really matters: feeding the hungry. To read more about Action Against Hunger’s story and learn how they used Google tools so effectively, visit our Google for Nonprofits Community Stories page. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more inspirational stories about nonprofits using technology to help their cause.To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google [...]

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Experience Tunisia’s rich culture with Street View ImageryExperience Tunisia’s rich culture with Street View ImageryAssociate Product Marketing Manager

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 17:00:00 +0000

My Street View journey took me to Tunisia, home to beautiful sun soaked beaches, ancient Roman ruins, and Islamic monuments. And now you can explore Tunisia on Street view too. The first stop is the Amphitheatre of El Djem, the largest Roman amphitheatre in North Africa, located in the heart of Tunisia. This beautiful monument stands in the midst of a lively and vibrant town—El Djem—-previously known as “Thysdrus,” a prosperous town during the reign of the Roman Empire. As you walk through the arena, imagine 35,000 cheering spectators gathered in the auditorium to watch gladiators and lions raised and lowered from cells to meet their fate. As the cheering crowd fades, you are brought back to the present, and the crowd’s roars are replaced with sound of birds chirping and leaves rustling in the cornerstone of El Djem.Then I went on to explore the massive city of Carthage, founded in the 9th Century B.C and home to an iconic civilization. It is also the hometown of the famed warrior and military leader, Hannibal, who grew to lead victorious battles. Today, Tunisians regard Carthage and the memory of Hannibal with a strong sense of pride. Use Street View to take a stroll through the Theatre of Carthage, Cisterns of La Malaga, Basilica of Damus al-Karita and the Baths of Antoninus which face the stunning view of the Mediterranean. The Cisterns of La Malga provided the  water supply for Carthage—especially the Baths of Antonius—during the Roman Empire. Located in Carthage and overlooking the Mediterranean, the Baths of Antoninus are the largest set of Roman Thermae built on the African continent dating back to the Roman Empire era. Built in the mid-second century, the Theatre of Carthage could contain 10,000 spectators. Now it is where Carthage’s major international and musical festivals are held. The Basilica of Damus al-Karita, within the archaeological site of Carthage, was a cemetery church dating back to the Byzantine times. Next we visited Dougga, an ancient Roman Town that was built on a hill and flourished during the Roman and Byzantine times. Take a walk through its beautiful ruins which have been around for more than six centuries, and envision the daily life of people in a typical Roman town. Let the monuments left behind give you a glimpse into the Numidian, Punic, Hellenistic, and Roman cultures. Stroll around the site with Street View and stop to gaze up at The Capitol, a Roman Temple dedicated to Rome’s protective triad; Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. [...]

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Chatting with the National Spelling Bee champ on her success and what’s nextChatting with the National Spelling Bee champ on her success and what’s nextManaging Editor

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 19:00:00 +0000

Last month, Ananya Vinay clinched the National Spelling Bee with the word “marocain.” (I’m guessing she has never needed to use the "Did you mean" feature in Google Search.) When we ascertained that Ananya endeavored to visit the Googleplex, we invited her for lunch and a peregrination around campus. I had the chance to confabulate with her about her predilection for spelling, her multifarious approach to practicing a preponderance of words, how Google Hangouts helped her maintain equanimity at the Bee, and which venture she plans to vanquish next.


Keyword: What was your favorite part of the tour at Google?

Ananya: I really liked seeing the first server (known as the “corkboard server”) at the Visitors Center. Then I got to use Google Earth, and zoomed in on my grandmother’s house in Kerala, India.

If you could work at Google one day, what kind of job would you want to do?

I’d like to work in the division where they do research on AI and medicine. I’d want to diagnose diseases. This summer I went to a camp called “mini medical school” where I got to do a bunch of dissections—I really like that stuff.

We heard you used Google Hangouts to practice for the spelling bee, can you tell us more about that?

There’s a spellers chat on Hangouts, and when you make it to the National Spelling Bee, another speller will add you to the chat. People use the chat to share resources on how to study and quiz each other, which helped expand my knowledge of words. When we used Hangouts Chat (instead of video), autocorrect got in the way of spelling, which is really hilarious. The words are so strange that autocorrect doesn’t recognize them. I’ve beaten autocorrect a lot.

Is there a word that always trips you up? Or does that only happen to me?

When I was younger I always messed up “mozzarella.” Now it’s easier for me to guess words because I go off of language patterns and word rules, so I can figure out a word based on language of origin. There’s a lower chance I’ll miss a word because I have a larger word base.

What’s next? Are you going to keep doing spelling bees?

I can’t compete again because I already won the national competition, but next year I get to open up the Bee. Now I’m going deep into math and science. I’m going into seventh grade, and my new hobby is going to be debate.

If you could have a dress made of marocain, what color would it be?

I’m going to use a spelling bee word: cerulean* (which means sky blue).

*Editor’s Note: While I was taking notes during the interview, Ananya immediately called me out on my misspelling of cerulean (not cirulian, as I thought). She’s good.

(image) National Spelling Bee champion Ananya Vinay visited the Googleplex for a tour of campus. The Keyword team had the opportunity to ask her a few questions.

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The High Five: Live every week like you’ll discover a dinosaur fossilThe High Five: Live every week like you’ll discover a dinosaur fossilManaging Editor

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 18:00:00 +0000

This week a human races a shark, and a dinosaur was discovered a million years after it walked the Earth. It’s a whole new world out there. Here’s what people are searching for this week: Phelps has the gold, now he’s going for the White Shark Week returns Sunday night on the Discovery Channel, and this year it’s going to the next level with a “race” between Olympian Michael Phelps and a great white shark. So far Phelps is beating “great white shark” in search traffic, but all bets are off in the water. Delaware, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania are the regions with the most searches for “Shark Week,” but people are also interested in Amity Island’s resident killer “Jaws,” which was the top searched shark movie of the week.Stumbling on history This week’s excavation of a million-year old Stegomastadon is making news after a boy tripped over its fossilized skull while hiking with his family in New Mexico. Search interest in Stegomastadon went up than 700 percent with queries like, “What does a stegomastodon look like?” and “How long ago did dinosaurs live?” Even with its moment in the limelight this week, Stegomastadon was searched less than Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor.Get those people a croissantAfter 23 days, 21 stages, and more than 2,000 miles, cyclists will cross the Tour de France finish line in Paris this weekend. Curious about how that is physically possible, people are searching: “How many rest days are there in the Tour de France?” and “How long is a stage in the Tour de France?” Search interest in “yellow jersey” (worn by the leader of the race and ultimately presented to the winner) spiked 200 percent this week.O.J. stirs things up After serving an eight-year prison sentence for armed robbery, O.J. Simpson was released on parole this week. Leading up to the hearing, people searched: “What did O.J. Simpson do?” “What time is OJ’s parole hearing?” and “What is a parole hearing?” Search interest in O.J. spiked 350 percent this week, and interest in his now-deceased attorney Robert Kardashian—yup that Kardashian, father of Kim, Khloe and Kourtney—went up 200 percent.Harry goes in a new direction “Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated movie about the World War II battle in which 300,000 troops were evacuated from a French beach, opened in theaters this week. This month search interest in “Dunkirk evacuation” reached its highest since 2004, and it spiked more than 200 percent this week alone. People are also looking for info on one cast member in particular: One Direction frontman Harry Styles, who makes his acting debut in the movie. Search interest in “Harry Styles Dunkirk” was searched 900 percent more than “Harry Styles songs.” Check out what’s trending on Google with a look at a few of the top searches from this week.[...]

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Your swimming-with-the-sharks AssistantYour swimming-with-the-sharks AssistantThe Google Assistant Team

Fri, 21 Jul 2017 15:00:00 +0000

We’re gonna need a bigger boat.

I don’t know about you, but we’ve been hearing a lot about sharks this week. So grab your Assistant and let’s sink our teeth into summer—or at least learn some fun shark facts.

  • Let’s start with the basics: “Ok Google, tell me a shark fact.”
  • The more you know: “What’s the fastest shark?” And follow up with “how fast can it swim?” (That would be the shortfin mako shark at 60 MPH.)
  • Don’t forget your show! Just say “Ok Google, remind me to tune into my favorite show on Sunday” to your Assistant on your phone. 
  • Fish are friends … and sometimes food. To prepare for your watch party: say “Ok Google, add fish gummies to my shopping list.”
  • Look for the real thing: “Ok Google, where’s the closest beach?”

Duuunnnn dunnnn. Duuunnnnn duunnn… well, you get the point. 🦈

P.S. In case you missed it, the Assistant on Google Home is now available in Australia—home to 180 shark speciessaying G’Day to a whole new set of fins friends.

(image) Grab your Assistant and let’s sink our teeth into summer—or at least learn some fun shark facts.

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Around the world with #teampixelAround the world with #teampixelPixel Team

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 18:30:00 +0000

With vacation mode in full swing, #teampixel members are steadily trekking into the far corners of the globe. This week’s picks range from a peaceful afternoon in a Beijing temple to the windy roads of the Great St. Bernard Pass. Take a look at our summer faves in this week’s #pixelperfect slideshow, and don’t forget to pack the sunscreen. @zu.fuss - Great St. Bernard Pass in Switzerland Left: @chxtagram - Natural History Museum in London, England. Right: @jjthehoser - A bubble on the move in Canada @johnsocharlotte - Lakeside sunset in Chicog, Wisconsin Left: @doppiosogno - Colorful confetti at a Coldplay concert. Right: @rht_3 - Brooklyn Bridge in NYC @mrtroiano - Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, France Left: @vasuagarwal - Cube House in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Right: @suluhpandu - An airport tunnel in Indonesia Left: @audiphotography - A shadow cast seat in Haryana, India. Right: @bloganotherfeckintravel - Temple of Heaven in Bejiing, China Have a Pixel? Tag your photos with #teampixel, and you might get featured on the ‘gram. [...]See the sights with this week’s #teampixel photos.

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How we’re collaborating with Citrix to deliver cloud-based desktop appsHow we’re collaborating with Citrix to deliver cloud-based desktop appsHead of Global Technology Partners

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Businesses of all types are accelerating their transition to the cloud, and for many, desktop infrastructure and applications are part of this journey. Customers often tell us they want to be able to use their current desktop applications from any device and any place just as easily and securely as they can use G Suite.

That’s why today, we’re announcing a collaboration with Citrix to help deliver desktop applications running in a cloud-hosted environment.

Managing and delivering hosted desktop applications requires several pieces of technology: Google brings highly scalable and reliable infrastructure, a global network to reach customers and employees wherever they may be, and a team of security engineers who work to keep Google Cloud customers secure. Citrix brings the application management, backup and redundancy from XenApp, its desktop virtualization suite, and application delivery with Netscaler. Finally, Google Chromebooks and Android devices together with Citrix XenApp offer a highly secure, managed end-point that provide users a safe and user friendly experience on which to use applications.

All this requires close partnership and excellence in engineering. Google and Citrix have collaborated for years and we're expanding that relationship today in a few key ways:

  • Simplifying the path for customers to more securely transition to the cloud by bringing Citrix Cloud to Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

  • Bringing the application load balancing expertise of Netscaler to the world of containers via Netscaler CPX on GCP

  • Integrating Sharefile with G Suite to use Gmail and edit and store Google Docs natively.

  • Expanding use of secure devices with Citrix Receiver for Chrome and Android link

This collaboration helps address key challenges faced by enterprises moving to the cloud quickly and securely. Both Google and Citrix look forward to making our products work together and to delivering a great combined experience for our customers.

(image) Today, we’re announcing a collaboration with Citrix to help deliver desktop applications running in a cloud-hosted environment.

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Daydream Labs: Teaching Skills in VRDaydream Labs: Teaching Skills in VRSoftware Engineer

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 16:00:00 +0000

You can read every recipe, but to really learn how to cook, you need time in the kitchen. Wouldn't it be great if you could slip on a VR headset and have a famous chef walk you through the basics step by step? In the future, you might be able to learn how to cook a delicious five-course meal—all in VR. In fact, virtual reality could help people learn all kinds of skills. At Daydream Labs, we tried to better understand how interactive learning might work in VR. So we set up an experiment, which aimed at teaching coffee making. We built a training prototype featuring a 3D model of an espresso machine which reacts like a real one would when you press the buttons, turn the knobs or drop the milk. We also added a detailed tutorial. Then, we tasked one group of people to learn how to pull espresso shots by doing it in VR. (At the end, we gave people a detailed report on how they’d done, including an analysis of the quality of their coffee.) For the purpose of comparison, another group learned by watching YouTube videos. Both groups were able to train for as long as they liked before trying to make a coffee in the real world; people assigned to watch the YouTube tutorial normally did so three times, and people who took the VR training normally went through it twice. A scene from our coffee training prototype We were excited to find out that people learned faster and better in VR. Both the number of mistakes made and the time to complete an espresso were significantly lower for those trained in VR (although, in fairness, our tasting panel wasn't terribly impressed with the espressos made by either group!) It's impossible to tell from one experiment, of course, but these early results are promising. We also learned a lot of about how to design future experiments. Here's a glimpse at some of those insights. Another scene from our coffee training prototype First, milk coffee was a bad choice. The physical sensation of tamping simply can't be replicated with a haptic buzz. And no matter what warning we flashed if someone virtually touched a hot steam nozzle, they frequently got too close to it in the real world, and we needed a chaperone at the ready to grab their hand away. This suggests that VR technology isn’t quite there when it comes to learning some skills. Until gloves with much better tracking and haptics are mainstream, VR training will be limited to inputs like moving things around or pressing buttons. And if the digital analog is too far removed from the thing it's simulating, it probably won’t help all that much with actually learning the skill. We also learned that people don’t follow instructions. We see this in all of the prototypes made in Daydream Labs, but it was especially problematic in the trainer. Instructions on controllers? People left their hands by their sides. Written on a backboard? They were too busy with what was right in front of them. Delivered as a voiceover? They rushed ahead without waiting. We even added a “hint” button, but people thought that it was cheating—and forgot about it after a step or two anyways. We ended up needing to combine all of these methods and add in-scene markers, too. Large green arrows pointing at whatever the user was supposed to interact with next worked well enough to allow us to run the test. But we’ve by no means solved this problem, and we learned that lots more work needs to be done about incorporating instructions effectively. [...]

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Applications now open for the Google Policy Fellowship in Europe and AfricaApplications now open for the Google Policy Fellowship in Europe and AfricaSenior Manager, Public Policy EMEA

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 14:00:00 +0000

Are you an undergraduate, graduate or law student interested in internet and technology policy? Do you want to get involved in the public dialogue on these issues? If so, the new Google Policy Fellowship pilot programs in Italy, Belgium (Brussels), and three African countries may be for you.  Successful applicants to the program will have the opportunity to work at public interest organizations at the forefront of debates on internet policy issues. They will be assigned a mentor at their host organizations and will have the opportunity to work with senior staff members. Fellows will be expected to make substantive contributions to the work of their organization, including conducting policy research and analysis, drafting reports and white papers, attending government and industry meetings and conferences, and participating in other advocacy activities.The work of the fellows is decided between the individuals and the organizations. Google provides a small stipend during the period of the fellowship, but has no involvement in defining or conducting the research. Typically, the fellows are postgraduates and they work with the organization on an area of research or study. For example, in previous years, a fellow with the Strathmore Law School in Nairobi, Kenya, carried out a review of cyber-security conventions around the world, and a fellow at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT in Ghana helped to establish the Creative Commons chapter for Ghana before returning to university to finish her Ph.D. All work is carried out independently of Google. Who should apply?The organisations in the program are looking for students who are passionate about technology, and want to gain experience of working on public policy. Students from all majors and degree programs who possess the following qualities are encouraged to apply:Demonstrated or stated interest in Internet and technology policyExcellent academic record, professional/extracurricular/volunteer activities, subject matter expertiseFirst-rate analytical, communications, research, and writing skillsAbility to manage multiple projects simultaneously and efficiently, and to work smartly and resourcefully in a fast-paced environment Brussels pilotWe are pleased to offer three fellowships, starting in September 2017, at the organizations listed below. These placements will run for six months and the stipend will vary slightly from organization to organization. To apply, please use the link below and send a short email, together with a CV. Deadline for applications is July 31, 2017. European Disabilities Forum: Contact Alejandro Moledo alejandro.moledo@edf-feph.orgEuropean Women’s Lobby: Contact  Emily Usher Usher@womenlobby.orgEuropean Youth Forum: Contact John Lisney Italy pilotWe’re pleased to offer six fellowships, starting in October 2017, and lasting up to six months, at the organizations listed below. To apply, please send a short email to the address below, together with a CV. Deadline for applications is August 27, 2017. Accademia Italiana del Codice di Internet  Contact info@iaic.itAREL - Agenzia di Ricerche e Legislazione Contact mailto:arel@arel.itAssociazione Sole Luna - Un ponte tra le culture: Contact info@solelunadoc.orgFormiche: Contact - Istituto per la competitività Contact info@i-com.itIstituto Bruno Leoni: Contact info@brunoleoni.orgAfrica programWe’re pleased to offer eight fellowships, starting from late August 2017, across Sub-Saharan Africa. The program will run for six to twelve months, with exact duration varying by organization. Detailed job descriptions can be viewed here. To apply, please complete the form at 2017 Africa Google Policy Fellowship Application. Deadline for applic[...]

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Welcome to Outer Space ViewWelcome to Outer Space ViewAstronaut at the European Space Agency (ESA)

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:00:00 +0000

Editor’s note:  Starting today, you can now explore the International Space Station in Street View in Google Maps. Thomas Pesquet, Astronaut at the European Space Agency (ESA), spent six months aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as a flight engineer. He returned to Earth in June 2017, and in this post he tells us about what it’s like to live on the ISS and his experience capturing Street View imagery in zero gravity.   In the six months that I spent on the International Space Station, it was difficult to find the words or take a picture that accurately describes the feeling of being in space. Working with Google on my latest mission, I captured Street View imagery to show what the ISS looks like from the inside, and share what it’s like to look down on Earth from outer space. Cupola Observation Module For 16 years, astronauts have been working and living on the ISS, a structure made up of 15 connected modules that floats 250 miles above Earth. The ISS acts as a base for space exploration—possible future missions to the Moon,Mars and asteroids—and gives us a unique perspective on Earth itself. We can collect data on the Earth’s oceans, atmosphere, and land surface. We can conduct experiments and studies that we wouldn’t be able to do from Earth, like monitoring how the human body reacts to microgravity, solving mysteries of the immune system, studying  cyclones in order to alert populations and governments when a storm is approaching, or monitoring marine litter—the rapidly increasing amount of waste found in our oceans. US Laboratory Module There were a few “firsts” on my mission. It was led by Peggy Whitson who, at age 56, became the oldest woman to fly into space and the first woman in history to command two expeditions. The mission was the first time Street View imagery was captured beyond planet Earth, and the first time annotations—helpful little notes that pop up as you explore the ISS—have been added to the imagery. They provide additional information or fun facts like where we work out to stay physically fit, what kind of food we eat, and where we conduct scientific experiments. Node 1 (Unity) Peggy Whitson and friends dining at the galley table - big enough for six astronauts. Because of the particular constraints of living and working in space, it wasn't possible to collect Street View using Google's usual methods. Instead, the Street View team worked with NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas and Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama to design a gravity-free method of collecting the imagery using DSLR cameras and equipment already on the ISS. Then I collected still photos in space, that were sent down to Earth where they were stitched together to create panoramic 360 degree imagery of the ISS. Node 2 (Harmony) Crew Quarters - Astronaut Sandra Magnus, Expedition 18 flight engineer, poses for a photo in her crew compartment. We did a lot of troubleshooting before collecting the final imagery that you see today in Street View. The ISS has technical [...]

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Find great apps and games on Google Play with the Editors' Choice updateFind great apps and games on Google Play with the Editors' Choice updateGlobal Head of Apps & Store EngagementProduct Manager

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Summer road trips are always a great way to unplug and enjoy time with friends and family. But how do you go about choosing the best app to navigate unfamiliar roads, edit your vacation photos and videos to post online, or find a fun game to pass time during the long drive? The Editors’ Choice section on Google Play has long been a fan favorite, but we’re kicking it up a notch by adding better curation to help you find high quality apps and games that you’ll love. With the introduction of new editorial pages in our revamped Editors’ Choice section, our Google Play editors hand-select apps and games with the best experiences on Android and compile them around popular themes, while offering context on why they love each individual app or game.Editors’ Choice helps you explore different game genres and app categories with reviews on each theme, such as fitness, selling & buying goods, epic role-playing games (RPGs) and top racing games.Here are some editorial pages we recently put together: AppsGo Face-to-Face With These Video Calling AppsMap It Out: Navigate Anywhere With These 5 AppsGet Motivated With These 5 Fitness AppsOh, Snap: 5 Photo Editing Apps to Make Your Pics PopTalk the Talk With These Language Learning AppsMake a Deal: 5 Apps for Buying & Selling Used GoodsTrack Your Spending With These 5 Budgeting AppsGamesPuzzle Games to Test Your LogicGet There Fast With These Great Runner Games5 Role-Playing Games for the Hero in YouPedal to the Metal: 5 Awesome Racing Games5 Arcade Games to Perfect Your Twitch SkillsChallenge Your Intellect With These Simulation GamesWinning Sports Games to Enjoy Any Season Available on mobile and desktop in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, South Korea, and the U.S., With expansion to more countries soon, our new editorial pages take out the guesswork so that you can quickly decide what apps and games fit best for your travel plans.[...]Updated Editors’ Choice section on Google Play offers more curated apps and games.

Adventures abound: Explore Google Expeditions on your ownAdventures abound: Explore Google Expeditions on your ownSoftware Engineer

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Google Expeditions makes it possible for teachers to take their classrooms on virtual reality field trips to amazing places like the Taj Mahal or Machu Picchu. Today, we’re starting to roll out a new solo mode of Expeditions for Android, so that anybody can explore more than 600 different tours on their own. Just download the Expeditions app (coming soon for iOS), drop your phone into Cardboard and get ready for an adventure. For the past two years, Expeditions has been a tool to extend learning inside the classroom, helping students to see and experience the world in new ways, visit college campuses, gain exposure to new career paths and role models, and learn about various social impact initiatives happening around the globe. During this time, we've heard from students, teachers, and even our friends, that they'd love to explore and learn from Expeditions outside the classroom . Self-Guided Expeditions let anyone explore anywhere. Students can go on tours at home and share the experience with their family. Teachers can assign tours as homework to complement in-class work. What better way to round out textbook reading about the Founding Fathers than an Expedition about the Hamilton-Burr duel narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda? And of course, anybody who loves to learn and explore can experience all the tours for themselves. It’s easy to use. All you need is your smartphone, Google Cardboard and the Expeditions app. If you have a Daydream-ready phone, it also works with Daydream View. Simply launch the app, pop your phone in your viewer and you’re ready to go. You can take tours as either an Explorer or a Guide. As an Explorer, you experience the tour on your own, and you’ll see points of interest highlighted with more information about the incredible sights you’re seeing. Guide mode is especially handy if you’re a teacher and you want to preview a tour before leading your students on it. We’ve also heard from teachers that they want more tools to help explain and highlight things within Expeditions panoramas and environments. The new “Annotations” tool lets a Guide draw within a scene using their finger or a stylus. Each of the connected Explorers will instantly see that same annotation in the scene. To get started with Self-Guided Expeditions, check out the Seven Modern Wonders of the World, or dive into the beautiful and fragile Great Barrier Reef. Or, if you love baseball, check out one of the game’s great cathedrals with a tour of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Wherever you choose to go, there’ll be something amazing to see.[...]Self-Guided Expeditions let anyone explore and learn in virtual reality with over 600 tours.

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Feed your need to knowFeed your need to knowVP, Engineering

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 07:05:00 +0000

As the late, great Dr Seuss once said, “there is no one alive who is you-er than you.” At Google, we know this statement is truer than true. Sure, we all have many things in common, but none of us has quite the same mix of passions, interests and goals as the next person. And, while we each keep up to date on the things that matter to us in different ways—social media, news apps, talking to friends—it’s hard to find one place to stay in the know about exactly what matters to you. Today that’s changing. People have long turned to Google to get answers, learn about the world, and dig deeper on topics they’re passionate about. Today, we are announcing a new feed experience in the Google app, making it easier than ever to discover, explore and stay connected to what matters to you—even when you don’t have a query in mind. A smart feed that changes with youSince introducing the feed in December, we’ve advanced our machine learning algorithms to better anticipate what’s interesting and important to you. You’ll see cards with things like sports highlights, top news, engaging videos, new music, stories to read and more. And now, your feed will not only be based on your interactions with Google, but also factor in what’s trending in your area and around the world. The more you use Google, the better your feed will be. As the world and your interests change, your feed will continue to grow and evolve along with you. You’ll notice that your feed will also reflect your interest level for various topics—for example, if you’re a photography enthusiast but just casually interested in fitness, your feed will show that. But if you see something that isn’t up your alley, unfollowing topics is easy too. Just tap on a given card in your feed or visit your Google app settings. Follow your favoritesWhile we’ve been getting better at understanding your interests, it hasn’t always been easy for you to choose new topics for your feed. To help you keep up with exactly what you care about, you’ll now be able to follow topics, right from Search results. Look out for a new “Follow” button next to certain types of search results—including movies, sports teams, your favorite bands or music artists, famous people, and more. A quick tap of the the follow button and you’ll start getting updates and stories about that topic in your feed. Broader context and deeper explorationTo provide information from diverse perspectives, news stories may have multiple viewpoints from a variety of sources, as well as other related information and articles. And when available, you’ll be able to fact check and see other relevant information to help get a more holistic understanding about the topics in your feed. We’re also making it easier to dive deeper into any of the topics you see in your feed. At the top of every card, you’ll see a header that puts your interests front and center, letting you search that topic on Google with one tap. Get more of the stuff you care aboutWith these updates to the feed, it’s easier than ever to stay in the know about exactly the things you care about and see more content to inform, inspire and entertain you. You’ll spend less time and energy trying to keep up with your interests and more time enjoying and cultivating them. Whether you’re a pet-loving, Nietzsche-reading, sports fanatic; a hip-hop head an[...]

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Empowering Indonesian entrepreneurs to take actionEmpowering Indonesian entrepreneurs to take actionChief Executive

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 06:15:00 +0000

Editor’s note: This post comes from Yansen Kamto, Chief Executive and Founder of KIBAR, which mentors and nurtures startups through tech incubator programs, and by building innovation hubs. Today, they’re officially joining the Google for Entrepreneurs partner network.Indonesia is home to 17,504 islands, 1,128 ethnic groups and 746 local languages. Half of our country is under 30 years old. These numbers are impressive, and they capture how we're a nation with big potential. There’s an Indonesian saying that comes to mind, though: Tong kosong nyaring bunyinya. Metaphorically speaking, all talk and no action won’t get us very far.That’s why I’m so inspired by entrepreneurs like Leonika Sari and Ray Rezky Ananda, who are taking action and making a real difference each day. Leonika is the founder and CEO of Reblood, an app that is saving lives daily by making blood donations in Indonesia easier than ever. Bantuternak founder Ray set up a peer-to-peer lending platform to help local farmers raise cows and increase the quality of cattle. Bantuternak empowers local economic growth by connecting potential investors to farmers and providing training on livestock farming.I’m especially proud of these inspiring entrepreneurs because they’re graduates of KIBAR’s incubation programs. They show us how technology, business and an entrepreneurial spirit can come together to lift up our society at home, and help support and encourage innovation in other communities around the world.I started KIBAR in 2011 to help make Indonesia the region’s tech leader, and ultimately, a place where we build meaningful technological solutions for the world. At KIBAR, our goal is to build an end-to-end ecosystem for young Indonesian entrepreneurs, equipping them with the best resources. That’s why I’m so excited we’re joining the global Google for Entrepreneurs partner network today. Google for Entrepreneurs fits right in with our colorful traditional Indonesian art motifs. Entrepreneurs, creative thinkers and innovators at work in the Google Lounge at the newly constructed KIBAR Menara Space Entrepreneurs are Indonesia’s greatest hope for the future, as our “Hope Wall” attests. KIBAR is the first member from Indonesia joining a worldwide community of more than 50 partners. Through this Google for Entrepreneurs partnership, KIBAR members can now participate in GFE Exchanges, a series of week-long, industry-specific global immersion programs aimed at helping startups gain access to new markets and insights. We’ll also have the opportunity to represent Indonesia a[...]

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Tilt Brush Artist in Residence: Meet Estella TseTilt Brush Artist in Residence: Meet Estella TseCommunity Manager

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Editor’s note: Tilt Brush lets you paint in 3D space with virtual reality. Earlier this year, we launched the Artist in Residence (AiR) program to showcase what’s possible when creative artists experiment with this new medium. The resulting works of art have been amazing, and you can check some of them out on our website, or right in the Tilt Brush app itself.In this series, we go deeper into these artists’ process, explore their creative influences, hear about their experience using Tilt Brush and share any tips they have for aspiring VR artists. Want more? Check out our previous posts on Steve Teeps and Isaac Cohen. As an artist in residence, Estella Tse created Metamorphosis, which celebrates the beauty of our individual journeys of growth, transformation and self-discovery. We caught up with Estella to hear more.  Walk us through your creative process in Tilt Brush. How do you use it?I got comfortable with Tilt Brush immediately! I felt like I could summon light out of my fingertips. And it's so intuitive. Ideas flow out of me.My VR painting technique isn’t very different from designing an illustration on paper. I start with fast, loose and long lines. Then I tighten up and work on details, going from big to small and general to specific.I usually have an idea of the mood or aesthetic I want to create in VR. I like to design with intent. Everything from shape to scale to color, all elements serve the mood and feeling of my pieces. Every mark counts. I want my viewer to feel inspired when they step into my pieces. I want them to feel the magic.How is Tilt Brush different from working in other mediums?It's almost as if I'm working with a whole new dimension! The vastness of seemingly infinite space is exhilarating, and also too much at times. I've been making skyboxes to close off my space.Tilt Brush is not like any other art form. It's kind of a hybrid between drawing and sculpting. I liken it to sculpting with line. It's so easy to wireframe and plan out a scene, making it a great tool for quick prototyping. For the first time, we can sketch in 3D without having to use a complex modeling software. Thinking and working in 3D has never been more intuitive and natural.One of the most fascinating things about Tilt Brush is that this is the first time we as humans have ever been able to fully immerse ourselves in hand-drawn paintings—you can look around and through my paintings. From an art history point of view, this is incredible. What inspires you?On a high level, I'm really interested in exploring the potential of creating a new art form in VR, similar to how Walt Disney and his team iterated over and over to learn the balance of storytelling in animation. This is just the beginning for VR and AR. I'm excited to experiment with different techniques, and to explore the evolution of art with innovative technology.In my residence program with Tilt Brush, I used the “playback” feature when loading a sketch as an animation tool. Instead of having my final piece be the piece, the process is the piece. I painted a caterpillar going through the phases of metamorphosis, then blossoming into a butterfly in front of your eyes. I believe growth, process, and the journey are really important aspects of creativity, as well as life. Try everything. There’s no right or wrong way to do anything right now. There are no rules. Do you have any advice for other Til[...]

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A new look for our Transparency ReportA new look for our Transparency ReportProduct Lead, Google Transparency Report

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 15:23:00 +0000

In 2010, we launched the government requests tool, a new way to publicly document government requests for user data and content removals. It was the first report of its kind and a natural extension of our mission to make information accessible and useful. In the years since, our simple tool evolved into the Transparency Report, a multifaceted snapshot of the ways governments and corporations affect online security, privacy, and the free flow of information.The web has evolved too, and has become central to people’s lives: 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, more than one billion people rely on Gmail and Chrome, every day. And this type reporting, once an anomaly, has become the norm across the tech industry and beyond. More than 40 companies now have transparency reports; that’s great news for people everywhere.But while the report itself expanded in scope and coverage, its design remained largely unchanged. Not only was it due for a little update, we heard from users it could be easier to navigate as well.So today we’re introducing the completely revamped Transparency Report. It features clearer data visualizations, more context for the data, a Recent Updates section so you can see what’s new, and a better way to download data from our most popular reports. And while the previous version was a patchwork of different reports, designed at different times in different styles, our new report is all one consistent design, making it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for. We’re continuing to invest in this report because we’ve seen firsthand how it can help inform and shape the public debate about information online. The data also acts as a lens into significant moments in the history of the web, fundamental changes to security, and our efforts to be transparent about data and how it is used. Here are a few examples:Our Traffic and Disruptions report documents real-time disruptions to usage of our products. Here’s what the report looked like for search in Egypt in January of 2011 when internet access was restricted during the Arab Spring. As we say in the report, “when you send or receive emails from a provider that doesn’t encrypt messages in transit, they are as open to snoopers as a postcard in the mail.” In 2014, we started reporting on the state of email encryption across the industry and which providers offer this protection. It’s been really encouraging to see how these trends have changed. Since then, outbound email encryption has[...]

Google introduces Hire, a new recruiting app that integrates with G SuiteGoogle introduces Hire, a new recruiting app that integrates with G SuiteSenior Product Manager, Google Cloud

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 13:00:00 +0000

It’s no secret that attracting top talent is a key driver of business success. But whether you’re looking to recruit a business analyst, bring on an assistant or hire an experienced auto mechanic, building the right teams with the right talent takes time and money.According to a study by Bersin by Deloitte, it takes an average of 52 days to fill an open position and costs about $4,000 to interview, schedule and assess each candidate. At the end of the day, that adds up. Now, Hire–an app designed to help small and medium businesses recruit more effectively–can help.Recruit better using Hire and G SuiteHire makes it easy for you to identify talent, build strong candidate relationships and efficiently manage the interview process end-to-end. It integrates seamlessly with G Suite apps like Gmail and Google Calendar, which more than 3 million businesses use, many of them to drive recruiting efforts. With the introduction of Hire, customers now have a hiring app alongside G Suite’s familiar, easy-to-use tools that can help them run an efficient recruiting process.Hire and G Suite are made to work well together so recruiting team members can focus on their top priorities instead of wasting time copy-pasting across tools. For example, you can:Communicate with candidates in Gmail or Hire and your emails will sync automatically in both.Schedule interviews in Hire with visibility into an interviewer's schedule from Calendar. Hire also automatically includes important details in Calendar invites, like contact information, the full interview schedule and what questions each interviewer should focus on.Track candidate pipeline in Hire, and then analyze and visualize the data in Sheets. Making intuitive recruiting software for your businessA lot of tools that employees rely on at work are clunky, unintuitive and hard to learn—endless configuration options, tables and lists and mind-numbing data entry. The Hire product team set out to change that. With a mindset of “less is more,” the team conducted hundreds of user-testing sessions and worked with early adopter customers for more than a year to simplify and optimize every aspect of the user experience.How Hire makes it easy for Brad’s Deals to recruitBrad’s Deals is a free service that compares online prices to help consumers find the best deals.  As a growing organization, recruiting is a top priority for the company. With more than 260 active candidates in their pipeline, Brad’s Deals uses Hire to share candidate information, capture feedback from the interviewing team in one place and track interview progress.“Hire’s intuitive and simple UI makes it easy for recruiters, hiring managers or even interviewers to take an active part in the recruiting process,” says Jessica Adams, vice president of Human Resources at Brad’s Deals. “The app’s integration with G Suite enables us to quickly access all candidate communications in one place, efficiently schedule interviews and collaborate to reach a hiring decision quickly."Try Hire todayHire is the latest product offering from Google to address the talent marketplace. In May, we unveiled Google for Jobs, our initiative that's focused on helping both job seekers and employers, across our products and through deep collaboration with the job matching industry. Google Search connects jobseekers to job opportunities from the open and broad ecosystem of providers, including [...]

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Since U Been BlobSince U Been BlobHeartbreaker

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 16:30:00 +0000

Editor’s note: On World Emoji Day, we’re taking the time to bid farewell to our old Android emoji, known fondly by fans as “blobs.” We’re rolling out a new set of emoji as part of Android O. They’re squishy and lovable—and designed for more consistent communication. Breaking up is hard to do, but we’ll find love in a blobless place.

Dear Blob,

I see it all now that you're gone.

We were both young when I first saw you… I said “it’s a love story, Blobby just say yes.”


Now, you lost that blobbin’ feeling. Blobversation has run dry—that’s what’s going on. Oh Blobbie, I couldn't have tried anymore. Blame it on the blob.

Once upon a time I was falling in blob, and now you’re just someblobby that I used to know.

It’s time we had the talk. Blob, bye.


Although we’ve come to the end of the blob, I want you to know you couldn't have loved me blobber. I’ve had the blob of my life… you’ll always be my Blobby.


Don’t you forget ablob me,


P.S. Nevermind, I’ll find someblob like you… You can blob your own way with new stickers in Google Allo.


(image) Breaking up is hard to do, but on World Emoji Day, we’re saying goodbye to our old Android emoji, known fondly by fans as “blobs.”

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